This week, I am headed out to Disneyland for the 10th anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon. It will be my third running of this special event, and although it will certainly be my slowest showing, it will be no less significant to me and my running career.
You see, it was the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon that was my first big goal I ever set for myself, running-wise. I had just started running in the Summer of 2010, and the moment I crossed my first 5K finish line, I knew I was in for the long haul. I set my sights on a race I’d have a whole year to train for, but as fate would have it, I’d soon learn about a little ‘ol thing called the “Coast to Coast Challenge” (two runDisney halves in one calendar year – for a special medal) so I jumped head first in to training and tackled the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January 2011 (those were the days you could register pretty darn last minute!) and was ready for more. In fact, the confidence I gained from that first half marathon is what made me realize I was capable of so much more – and that spring, I registered for my first FULL marathon that would take place in November, the Richmond Marathon.
Training for that full distance is what I believe secured my endurance and speed for the second part of my Coast to Coast Challenge at Disneyland, where I went from a 2:04 finish time (WDW) to a 1:48 (DL). While a major PR in just my second-ever half marathon was definitely thrilling, I do not doubt for one moment that it was merely a coincidence that the magic happened for me at the Happiest Place (and Happiest Race!) on Earth. runDisney is what inspired me to push further, and it’s also where I made my own magic come true – and despite the addition of new races, challenges, increased popularity and rising costs, it’s the reason I keep RUNNING back (read more of my runDisney adventures here).
To me, the Disneyland Half Marathon represents something that changed inside of me when I realized that I was, in fact, a RUNNER. I was no longer a person who went out for a jog, or was doing a workout simply to burn calories, but it was something that clicked for me. It was something I wanted to do, and something that I discovered that I was pretty good at.
I still have lots of running dreams (um, Boston, anyone?) but the Disneyland Half Marathon reminds me that you can’t just sit around and wait for a dream to come true, you have to WORK for it – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun along the way!
Plus – how cool is it that this will be Baby M’s first half marathon?
What was your running turning point? Do you have a special, or favorite race?